Security, immigration and tips are the key words involving three major chains in recent news recapped by this restaurant management consultant. Here are the excerpts from the stories in Nation’s Restaurant News: – Restaurant counter”A jury has awarded $46 million to plaintiffs in a case involving a 2007 shooting at a Denny’s restaurant near Seattle, after finding the family-dining company negligent for not adequately protecting its customers and employees… In the lawsuit, attorneys for the victims argued that the Denny’s location where the shooting occurred, which was company owned at the time, though now is a franchise location, had a history of dangerous incidents that occurred during the late night “bar rush,” when nearby bars closed and revelers arrived at Denny’s for pancakes and eggs.” – “Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. continues to be the target of an ongoing investigation into the hiring of undocumented workers in numerous states, an experience a company spokesman calls “eye opening.” – “Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is standardizing how waiters and waitresses at Olive Garden and Red Lobstershare tips with bartenders and busboys under a new policy that’s part of a larger plan to trim labor costs… The changes are coming as Darden, like other major employers, grapples with the economy and health-care reform that is expected to hit the restaurant industry hard financially.” As it concerns the Denny’s ruling, this further emphasizes the need for restaurants, particularly those who serve customers 24/7 and have late night dining and drive-thrus, to be especially vigilant and have good security procedures in place says this restaurant management consultant . As to the immigration issues facing Chipoltes, more and more restaurants, such as full-service independents, will also face more scrutiny. On the tip issue, Darden is probably just one of many chains to lead the way in finding creative ways to off-set higher wage costs that are expected to be brought out about by changes in new health care costs. View full articles here: Denny’s shooting victims awarded $46M Chipotle: Immigration crack down has been ‘eye opening’ Darden makes tip-sharing mandatory as part of money-saving plan In summary, many a restaurant management consultant will advise that you can never be too safety conscious when it comes to the well being of employees and customers alike in late night operations. At the same time, immigration crackdowns and tips pools will continue to be targets until the national food service industry reduces its unemployment numbers and labor costs become more affordable.